Being able to think on your feet is a quality that many employers look for. They want smart, quick-witted people who can handle curveball questions and put clients at ease. But what if impromptu speaking isn’t your thing?
We at Dale Carnegie Training of the Netherlands understand that it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But wouldn’t it feel great to think on your feet and not feel inhibited? It’s not unusual to be nervous about impromptu situations — even the most talented speakers must develop this skill. Mastering it often opens up opportunities for job promotions and for us to be seen as effective leaders.
All business professionals need to learn how to respond quickly and make a polished and credible impression. Remember Dale Carnegie’s concept of the three E’s: We have earned the right, we are excited about the topic, and we are eager to share.
In addition to the process, there are three tips to keep in mind when in a situation where our opinions are likely to be asked:
Be mentally ready. Avoid negative self-talk like, “I hope he or she doesn’t ask me anything like that.” Replace doubt and fear with positive anticipation toward having a chance to make a good impression. Think, “I can’t wait to be asked about…”
Start your response with an example. You will immediately free yourself from having to think hard about your next sentence because experiences are easily recounted, even in impromptu situations. Your first-moment jitters will fly away, allowing you to get into the swing of speaking and giving you the opportunity to warm up to the subject matter. You enlist the attention of your listeners immediately.
Speak with animation, intensity and clarity. When you speak with energy, your external animation has a beneficial effect on your thought process. Once you get the body charged up and animated, the mind also speeds up to a rapid pace.
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